Is that really Kale?

Back in July 2011 I went to an Organic gardening class where the teacher brought in some dried plants so we could to try our hand at harvesting seeds. One of those seeds was supposed to be kale. I sowed the seeds on April 9th and planted them out on May 4th. Yesterday I had my first harvest, a large bunch of the kale that went into a quiche. The photo below is my crop after the harvest – still plenty there and it’s growing well. Of course the quiche was fantastic.

But is it really kale? Every kale plant I’ve seen is a dark green and generally the leaves are curly. I did an internet search of kale photos and can’t find any that look like mine. I tasted the raw leaf and it tastes somewhere between spinach and cabbage – a bit peppery like a brassica, but not really strong. And the chickens struggle to eat it through the fence in a manner they reserve for brassicas so I’m pretty confident as to the family anyway. But what it is exactly, I haven’t a clue.

Did my teacher forget where he got the seed pods? Is this the result of some cross-pollination (with a swiss chard perhaps)? Could it simply be a different variety of kale? It doesn’t really matter because it’s clearly a vegetable, tasty and grows well so I’m going to keep harvesting and enjoying it. But I would like to know. If anyone has any ideas, drop me a line.

Kale leaf?

Update 11 October 2012: Yes, this really is kale. I’m not sure which specific variety but recently I saw a Gardening Australia show where the host was pointing to his kale. It looked just like this, purple spines, flat leaves and all. Not that it really matters because I ate it all winter, but at least now I can tell friends I’m serving them kale with some confidence that’s what they’re getting. For over 3 months through winter I harvested from these plants – chickens and humans loved it. And in the end, I collected seed for next years crop. Super result.


About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
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3 Responses to Is that really Kale?

  1. it looks really healthy – i planted a few kale seeds and they are still very tiny so cant make a comparison.

    • Healthy greens are never a bad thing no matter what their genus. I’ll be interested to see how your kale seeds go. They are a cold climate vegetable and that you definitely don’t have.

  2. Pingback: End of the Kale | Laura Rittenhouse's Gardening Journal

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